Non-Destructive Technologies for Detecting Insect Infestation in Fruits and Vegetables under Postharvest Conditions: A Critical Review
In the last two decades, food scientists have attempted to develop new technologies that can improve the detection of insect infestation in fruits and vegetables under postharvest conditions using a multitude of non-destructive technologies. While consumers' expectations for higher nutritive and sensorial value of fresh produce has increased over time, they have also become more critical on using insecticides or synthetic chemicals to preserve food quality from insects' attacks or enhance the
... ality attributes of minimally processed fresh produce. In addition, the increasingly stringent quarantine measures by regulatory agencies for commercial import–export of fresh produce needs more reliable technologies for quickly detecting insect infestation in fruits and vegetables before their commercialization. For these reasons, the food industry investigates alternative and non-destructive means to improve food quality. Several studies have been conducted on the development of rapid, accurate, and reliable insect infestation monitoring systems to replace invasive and subjective methods that are often inefficient. There are still major limitations to the effective in-field, as well as postharvest on-line, monitoring applications. This review presents a general overview of current non-destructive techniques for the detection of insect damage in fruits and vegetables and discusses basic principles and applications. The paper also elaborates on the specific post-harvest fruit infestation detection methods, which include principles, protocols, specific application examples, merits, and limitations. The methods reviewed include those based on spectroscopy, imaging, acoustic sensing, and chemical interactions, with greater emphasis on the noninvasive methods. This review also discusses the current research gaps as well as the future research directions for non-destructive methods' application in the detection and classification of insect infestation in fruits and vegetables.